A Sumerian Alabaster Rectangular Bowl, Early Dynastic IIIa, ca. 2600–2500 BCE - Sands of Time Ancient Art
A Sumerian Alabaster Rectangular Bowl, Early Dynastic IIIa, ca. 2600–2500 BCE - Sands of Time Ancient Art
A Sumerian Alabaster Rectangular Bowl, Early Dynastic IIIa, ca. 2600–2500 BCE - Sands of Time Ancient Art
A Sumerian Alabaster Rectangular Bowl, Early Dynastic IIIa, ca. 2600–2500 BCE - Sands of Time Ancient Art

A Sumerian Alabaster Rectangular Bowl, Early Dynastic IIIa, ca. 2600–2500 BCE


Regular price $1,950 USD

A rare alabaster dish with a rectangular rim, circular bowl, square bottom, two engraved lines running around the rim, and decorative cuts along the edges of the exterior.

Background:  Because clay was the most abundant material found in the Mesopotamian valley, stone had to be imported due to its rarity in the area. Alabaster (calcite), gypsum, lapis lazuli, limestone and marble were the most popular imports. Sumerians traded crops grown from their fertile soil for the stone, as well as metal and wood. The growth of powerful ruling families in urban centers led to a demand for luxury goods, particularly stone votive objects mainly used in the temples and tombs such as the famous Royal Graves at Ur (ca. 2500 BC).  The durability of stone, as well as the time and effort that went into creating vessels and other votive objects increased their value over clay and their popularity throughout Sumer.

During the 3rd millennium BC, the gods were vastly important to everyday life. Gods "owned" specific cities; Innana, for example, owned Uruk.  The temples where the gods were worshipped were more like complexes or estates than individual buildings. There were several buildings for worship and ritual functions, as well as more functional spaces such as breweries, kitchens, agricultural fields, grazing land for animal herds. These were all used to grow and prepare food, drink, and offerings to the gods.  Artworks and votive objects were used both in rituals and dedicated to the gods by high class donors. Other votive objects and works of art were created in order to accompany the deceased to the afterlife and bring them closer to the gods.  

Reference:  Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art. “Early Dynastic Sculpture, 2900–2350 B.C.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000.

Aruz, Joan, with Ronald Wallenfels, eds. "Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus." New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003.

Dimensions: Height: 1 2/16inches (3 cm), Length: 3 3/4 inches (9.5 cm)

Condition:  Intact and in very good condition overall.

Provenance: Private NYC collection, acquired 1970s-1980s, ex. Sotheby's New York, lot 285 (part), with original auction tag.

Sue McGovern, President of Sands of Time, is an Executive Board and a certified member (CAPP) of the International Society of Appraisers (ISA), an international multi-disciplinary certifying and accrediting organization.  ISA  has a mandatory recertification program for all senior members and Sue is in compliance with that program.   

CAPP is the highest achievement and level of credentialing in the industry of personal property appraising, signifying advanced appraisal methodology, expertise and professional development.

Sands of Time Appraisals provide comprehensive personal property valuation services to clients in all private and public sectors and has experience managing both simple and complex assignments for:

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The Sands of Time Appraisal team can appraise individual works of art or entire collections, with large collections being a specialty.  Every appraisal report is personally prepared by Sue resulting in the delivery of professional document with value conclusions in conformity with the Internal Revenue Service (where applicable), the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice” (USPAP), and the International Society of Appraisers (ISA).  With her broad information technology background, Sue also brings 25 years of project management experience that includes logistical design, planning, organizing, and implementation of large and small appraisal assignments.

By analyzing current trends and conducting comprehensive research, we closely monitor the nuances of the current market. Each client and appraisal situation is unique so our appraisal services are tailored to meet your timeline and specifications. This includes video conferencing, appraisals from photos and state of the art software tools. Efficiency and effectiveness from initial review to the delivery of the final documents is our top priority. Fees for appraisals are determined by the number of hours involved and any necessary travel and expenses. Our fees are negotiated based upon the express needs of each client and are competitive within the marketplace.

We invite inquiries from individuals, estate liquidators, museums, educational institutions, consultants, architects, interior designers, as well as colleagues, collectors and investors. Please contact us for further details.  I look forward to hearing from you,


Sands of Time offer a very flexible layaway payment plan for all objects offered for sale on our website.  Here's how it works:
  • Deposit:  A deposit of 15% of the total price is required upon purchase.  
  • Checkout:  Order through our website and select the "layaway" option at checkout.
  • Flexibility:   You are not restricted to a set monthly payment; pay what you wish when you wish, however your balance must be paid within six months of the order date or you risk forfeiture.
  • Title:  Property title remains with Sands of Time Antiquities, Inc. until payment is made in full.
  • Shipment:  Once payment is complete, we will ship your order by the next business day.  

Should you cancel your layaway purchase, a 15% restocking-fee will apply. If you exchange or trade-up the objet purchased while it is on layaway, the restocking fee for the original purchase will not apply.  If you would like to take advantage of our layaway system or would like to discuss an alternative option that better suits your budget, please contact us via e-mail or call 1-202-342-0518. 


Sands of Time provides a lifetime, unconditional guarantee of authenticity and provenance. Every artifact purchased from us is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity, stating culture, provenance and age. Furthermore, we conduct due diligence to ensure the item, to the best of our knowledge, has not been illegally obtained from an excavation, architectural monument, public institution or private property. Wherever possible, reference is made to existing collections or publications.

Sands of Time Antiquities are proud to uphold the following Code of Conduct:

  • We undertake to make, to the best of our ability, all purchases in good faith.
  • We undertake not to purchase or sell objects until we have established, to the best of our ability, that such objects were not stolen from excavations, architectural monuments, public institutions or private property.
  • We will not dismember and sell separately parts of one complete object.
  • We undertake to the best of ability to keep objects together that were originally meant to be kept together.
  • As appropriate we will keep photographic records of objects prior to repair and restoration, to be honest and open by describing in writing the amount of repair and restoration undertaken to a prospective purchaser.
  • To the best of our ability, we guarantee authenticity and provenance of all objects offered for sale.